A lot is being made about the chippiness during BYU's practice on Tuesday, but it seemingly went over the head of quarterback Riley Nelson.
"I didn't see a problem today. Coach Mendenhall manages It. He manages that kind of stuff. It is good practice for a game, because there will be calls, and guys talk and all that. If you get caught up in that, then your performance is going to go down the toilet. It is actually good practice to remain focused and focus on your job.
Coach Mendenhall will sort that out. We trust him to handle that well," Nelson said.
Here's how Mendenhall described the practice:
"It was good. It is getting difficult to practice against each other. They are starting to not like each other very much -- coaches and players -- which is about typical for this time of year. So we are trying to make it through one more scrimmage before we break up into scout teams."
Actually, Nelson was too busy being candid about his own performance, which hasn't been all that great the past few days. Tuesday, he threw a bad pass that should have been picked off by Craig Bills -- he dropped it -- and he has made some other poor decisions with the football as well, dating back to last Saturday.
"I feel like I got a long way to go. I mean, honestly, we will just say this: I am excited for the next two weeks, and the opportunity to get better for our game," Nelson said. "I in know way feel like I have arrived, or that I have mastered the position.
I am going to come out here hungry to get better."
My main piece in today's Tribune is about the return of linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who wasn't able to go full-bore at camp the past two weeks because he hadn't been cleared a final time by team doctors. That happened Tuesday, and Van Noy was out there with the ones at practice.
Like Nelson, he said the woofing and questionable hits and occasional fights are no big deal.
"We play each other every day. You are friends with the guys, but you are also competitive. Everybody wants to have the competitive edge. That's why you even play this game.
So it gets chippy. It is like playing a game of one-on-one basketball with your dad, type of deal. We are the offense's dad. Just playing. No [just joking]. So it is just chippy like that. It is nothing -- no grudges held. It is just competition, and we are happy for it. We are happy to see each side battling and getting better. I think that's most important thing that we need to look at, is everyone's getting better every day. So that's the big key to that."
He said there won't be a problem in the locker room because of leadership from guys such as himself and Riley Nelson.
"We are all grown men around here," he said. "We can say what's up to each other."
Van Noy said there was a positive side to having to sit out so much: he was able to get ready mentally for the season.
"Physically and mentally going through this process. I've been able to be in the film room, been able to study more things, been able to talk to the coaches more about schemes. I am just mentally and physically ready for the season," he said.
Finally, I asked him how he will respond to the hype that surrounds him after a phenomenal sophomore season.
"It is hype. There you go. You just said it yourself," he said. "That's how I am looking at it I am looking at it: like I have to prove the whole world wrong. That's how I have been my whole life. I have had people doubt me since I was 5 years old, playing against 7 year olds. So it starts from there, and I am going to keep that mindset until I am done playing this game, because that's what has got me here.
At the same time, I am grateful to be blessed with the ability that I have, and the coaching that I get, and the people that I surround myself with."
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